At the very end of Paseo Colón, a wide boulevard of upmarket shops, restaurants and car dealerships, the solid expanse of green today known as Parque la Sabana was San José’s airport until the 1940s, and is now home to the country’s key art museum, the Museo de Arte Costarricense. Concerted efforts to maintain its cleanliness, an ongoing project to introduce hundreds of trees native to Costa Rica and the reopening of the Museo de Arte Costarricense all provide the verdant Parque la Sabana with a sense of vitality. Its status as San Jose’s finest green space was confirmed in May 2010, when the park was chosen as the site of the inauguration of Laura Chinchilla, the country’s first female president.

Most people, though, come to the park to enjoy an afternoon stroll amid leafy trees shading a central lake and colourful modern sculptures scattered around. On Sunday afternoons, hordes of local families feed the resident geese and eat ice cream. It’s also one of the best places in San José to jog. The cement track is usually full of serious runners in training, but if it gets too crowded you can also run quite safely throughout the park.

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